Could Impact Investing Help India’s Poor?

Friday, September 30, 2011

Sorting out plastic bags collected from rubbish tips is a serious business for Virender Kumar.

Sitting on a pile of plastic bags, he is busy giving directions to the labourers he employs to help him with the recycling.

Once the bags are sorted, he sells them to recycling units to be melted down into plastic pellets.

He makes about 20,000 rupees ($410; £262) profit every month. But he has bigger ambitions that need funding.

He says that by working overtime, he saved money to start the recycling unit. But now he wants to hire more people and expand the business.

“But everything needs money,” he says. “Banks don’t lend to people like me.”

India’s growing middle class has been a target for many companies, but now another segment of society is increasingly becoming a focus for investors – people living below the poverty line.

But can businesses make a profit and also serve a social purpose?

Source: BBC (link opens in a new window)